Report: Baseball to change the expanded roster rules for next year

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I hate the expanded rosters in September. They can make for some ugly baseball — witness 11 pitchers and 25 total players being used in last night’s Giants-Diamondbacks game — and they can, however subtly, impact playoff races as teams in games involving contenders can do all manner of unorthodox crap, what with 15 extra bodies loitering around the dugout.

But that may soon be over, reports Scott Miller of CBS Sports.com:

Expanded late-season rosters have been a growing topic of discussion among members of Commissioner Bud Selig’s special committee for on-field issues. And there is increasing momentum to change the rules by next season, multiple industry sources have told CBSSports.com.

Teams would still be free to expand rosters during the final month of the season but would be subject to roster limitations on a nightly basis. Within this, clubs would have to designate which players are eligible before each game.

Miller says the idea would be to expand rosters to only 30 while requiring teams to designate 25 players as eligible each night.

This would (a) still allow teams to get look-sees at interesting minor leaguers; but (b) would not allow anyone to do what Bruce Bochy did last night and turn a September game into a spring training game.

Me likey. Me likey lots.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.